Being from NJ and not well traveled I do not have a lot of experience surfing reefs. I am asking this question because as we all know surfing reef is dangerous compared to NJ beach breaks because reefs are hard and sharp. Although, it appears that not all reefs are sharp and dangerous. I say this because you often see videos of people standing on reefs or "bouncing off the reef" and not significantly injuring them selves.
I know from my limited experience surfing reefs in the Caribbean, everyone said "DONT NOT STEP ON THE REEF, DONT NOT HIT the REEF!" because of urchins etc. Are reefs in Hawaii drastically different then reefs in the Caribbean, and Australia?
Maybe someone well traveled, or a marine biologist can help out
There are TONS of different types of reefs. Some sharp as hell (coral for example) so less so. Lava reefs can be sharp or smooth depending on the type of lava material. Then there is the issue of what is living on the reef. Orchins = SHARP!
This is just scratching the surface...so to speak.
I dont know alot about reefs but if your scared of them and want to get some big barrels, I know Puerto Escondido is sand bottom, I've always wanted to go there
Surfing is about pushing your limits, when you're good and ready. Just because Puerto is a sand bottom shouldn't give you a safety net of "everything is going to be ok". Puerto is a serious wave and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Some sharp some "soft". Tahiti more shallow than Fiji, more deep. Swell size and period obviously matters and so does tide. Some spots in Hawaii go almost dry to dry (looks like a boulder garden) at low tide at certain breaks and the locals don't ride it. Good time to hit it and get it all to yourself or just about to yourself. Scary as crap but you do what you have to and shallow equals you being keenly aware and super focused. You have to be willing to take a chance. Be respectful. By the way, head high barrels in NJ wont put you head first into the bottom if you eat it?